After a slow start sunk them last night, the Checkers flipped the script in the rematch with a pair of tallies within the first six minutes. That lead would evaporate, however, thanks to Cleveland’s power play coming to life and netting goals midway through the first and early in the second, drawing the score back even.
The Checkers wouldn’t roll over, however, surging back to regain the lead with a Julien Gauthier breakaway conversion minutes later followed by a seeing-eye snipe from Jake Bean to push the advantage back to two-goals heading into the final intermission.
The home side wouldn’t let the Monsters push back down the stretch, with the defense cinching up and Alex Nedeljkovic standing tall between the pipes, and a beautiful passing sequence leading to a Steven Lorentz tally proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Charlotte’s 5-2 victory.
The game wasn’t all offense, as tempers flared throughout and led to 49 penalty minutes for the home side, 41 of which came from Brian Gibbons and Max McCormick alone.
We looked like a different hockey team tonight. I think the average fan, if you came last night and you came tonight, you’d see two different hockey teams. We were more intense, more engaged and more emotional, but a controlled emotion. Even though it got out of hand at times, we had each other’s backs. We forechecked, we were holding on to pucks and we had a much better start.
Warsofsky on what caused the quick improvement
We had a pretty intense video session this morning. We’ve been having these meetings, and I think they’re getting old. I don’t like doing it as a coach with getting on these guys every single day when we have a letdown. It has to be every single night, and that’s what this group is learning right now.
Warsofsky on the team breaking through offensively
A guy like Kuokkanen, huge goal for him to hopefully get him going. I really liked that line before Gibbons gets the ejection.
Jake Bean on getting the win
It’s good to beat a team like that we’ve struggled against the whole year. It’s nice, and we’ve just got to make sure we take it into the next game. We’ve bounced back a few times this year and that’s great, but we’ve got to start figuring things out long term.
Steven Lorentz on bouncing back from last night’s game
We’ve got to get out of that habit of playing good one game and then turning it around with a not-so-good game. It’s kind of inconsistent right now, but tonight we came in and knew what they were going to do tonight after seeing them last night. I think we just out-worked them and played them pretty hard, and then when we needed Ned to make some big saves he was there for us. All in all it was a good effort form every guy tonight.
Lorentz on the team finding more consistency moving forward
It’s kind of a mindset – it’s more mental than anything. You can’t really let off the gas, and even though some nights you might not feel 100 percent you’ve still got to bring it every single shift. This is a hard league to win in, we figured that out last year, and I think if we can come in with the mindset every single game that if we can out-work the next team we’ll have a good chance of winning.